Adrian Levet
Australia
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Hey guys,
Relatively new here. I started making a game a few months ago that I wanted some feedback on/perhaps some help if anyone wanted to get involved. My game is a cooprative game with each player having unique abilities, working together to survive on a hostile alien planet.
Basically it runs like this:
The players start a preliminary phase in a prison ship, where they escape to a ship in the hangar, and crash land on a planet and have survive a certain number of turns until they are rescued, whilst battling hunger (or nutrition which covers both food and water), local animals, random events, and hostile enemy forces that scour the planet to find them.

Mechanics:
Players start with nothing in their hand, and each turn add a tile to a board to build the map as they play. With each movement onto these new tiles, they draw an 'encounter' card, which could be an enemy card they have to fight, a wild animal that may or may not be hostile, or an event card that triggers something else. Once they resolve the card, they draw an item card, that they can use to equip to their character, or a 1 time use item they may use to refill their nutrition level, or a one time use weapon during an encounter. This card can stay in their hand or be played when the card states it can be played.

The tiles on the ship phase are pretty much the same, just random tiles that could lead to dead ends or corridors that join, but the goal there is to get to a ship in the hangar to leave.

Once crash landed, the tiles are random, and can be a 'jungle' tile, a 'desert' tile, or a 'snow' tile. Each one has it's own encounter deck. The goal there is to explore, find weapons, food or water and equipment to surivive until the timer runs out, to which point they have to make it back to the escape ship where they started the distress beacon.

A mechanic will ensue during play, through semi-frequently drawn encounter cards, where the enemy patrol tokens will replicate and are placed on the map, adding a 'pandemic-like' mechanic. This works into the game where they can overwhelm you at the end of the game during a phase called the 'escalation' phase (last few turns of the game), as they converge on your position at the ship.

there are 8 developed characters players can use at this time:
1. Survivalist- who can help create shelters to guard against weather cards drawn, as well as help find nutrition cards to help maintain character's nutrtion levels from the item deck.
2. Scoundrel- A rogue like character who can talk her way out of combat with humans/enemy cards, as well as commandeer enemy vehicles such as the tank or mechanized suits.
3. Soldier- she has grenades she starts the game with, as well as a mechanic to take on damage instead of another character. She can also use two two-handed weapons.
4. Medic- Standard, really, she can heal other players, and has a few other abilities I can't remember right now.
5. Pack rat- all about loot. He can draw more item cards, and gets bonuses if he goes out on his own to explore, and has a bonus to not fighting, escaping and getting loot, etc.
6. xeno-enthusiast- an animal lover who can calm wild animals, and have them become their friend for an extra card to help during encounters. She can also mount and move faster on certain animals she befriends.
7. Humanitarian- A character who thrives on non-combat- can copy someone else's non-violent ability, and others that I can't remember right now.
8. Engineer- can build things such as turrets, mechanized suits and fortified shelters.
So, a couple of issues:
I need to design A LOT of cards, each one is based off MTG, where you have an image, mechanics, and then some flavour text below it. Anyone keen to get invloved? haha

secondly, I'm having some trouble working out battle mechanics. I had developed a system where you have a base amount with added modifiers that equipment and weapons give you, and then a dice to determine 'luck', with how much damage you do. I realise now, getting in D&D that this is a similar thing to what they do there. Anyone have any ideas for battles and how they could be made engaging (but not too complicated) or is the amount with dice a good plan?

so to summarize,
Does this sound like an interesting game? would it work? would you like to help me make it, if so. Feel free to ask me, and I can send you my keynote file with all my cards i've made, tiles, and general rules that i've made. Bear in mind that this is still in a VERY rough form, and the cards, etc are going to look like balls because I just wanted to get things down and test it out before I make it look pretty.
Any thoughts would be apprecicated!!!
Thanks for your time!
Adrian
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Brian Herr
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gemonelee wrote:
Feel free to ask me, and I can send you my keynote file with all my cards i've made, tiles, and general rules that i've made. Bear in mind that this is still in a VERY rough form, and the cards, etc are going to look like balls because I just wanted to get things down and test it out before I make it look pretty.
First and foremost: You are definitely going down the right path by testing things out before making them look pretty. Hang on to that thought.

Second, rather than emailing everyone separately, open a google drive or drop box. Have interested people message you, and message them back the link. Better still, open a WIP (work in progress) thread for your game here on BGG. That way, you have all of your feedback in one place.

Best of luck on your journey - because that's exactly what it is.

Brian
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Adrian Levet
Australia
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thank you very much Brian!

I shall figure that out and do that! how do I make this forum a WIP thread? Can I just rename or do I start a new thread under a different sub?

Thanks again!

Adrian
 
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Reiji Kobayashi
Japan
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gemonelee wrote:
thank you very much Brian!

I shall figure that out and do that! how do I make this forum a WIP thread? Can I just rename or do I start a new thread under a different sub?

Thanks again!

Adrian
You can find the WIP forum here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/1530033/boardgamegeek/works-...

Best of luck!
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Colin Baker
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For combat you could look up the exploding dice system Heroes of Terrinoth and Warhammer Quest use. It's pretty easy nu can be a way to spice things up. One side of your d6 gives a succes and a roll again. You could instead give one side a character specific optioneel that refers to your character card to make every character feel more unique.

For short: make one side of your die a special side that spices up the die rolling mechanism.
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Sebastian Amadeus
Canada
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Hello Adrian,

This does sound like fun! And you're 100% right about spending no money now. Never more true "fail fast, and fail early" when designing art heavy games. Prototype and iterate as fast as you can. My advice, is to also think about giving some of the control back to the players. One thing with drawing an encounter card then drawing an item card is they're both random (unless i'm missing something). Allowing players so decisions that give me "smarts" in the game goes a long way.

Another thing you may not be familiar with is Nandeck. It's a free software for easily prototyping cards for your game. Lots of youtube tutorials. Use MS word if you're not proficient to design the card layout (insert shapes --> fill with an image/box/art of your choice) then import into Nandeck. Used that for years prototyping various games.
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Nathan Woll
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Toledo
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This sounds boring to me.
For me, theme is irrelevant to enjoyment of a game, and this sounds like it's all theme. Where is the player agency? Where is the novel puzzle? What would remain new and interesting if you rethemed it?

If I am not your target audience, then I understand. I just want to assist.
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Leon Kerkhoff
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I like the theme!
Makes me wonder though, if the characters are escaping from a prison ship with an escape pod from the prison ship ... who do they expect will respond to the distress beacon from that very escape pod? I should think it would be the same people that held them imprisoned.

I think you can save some time, effort and cost if you have the encounter cards double as item/reward. There is at least one other game that does this but I can't think of the name. Basically, the top half shows the encounter and if you succeed you can take the card and turn it 180 degrees and now the top half is your new item/ability whatever. This is also a nice way to link the encounter and the reward, you fought a giant saber-tooth ... now you have two huge daggers.
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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I like the starting premise and the survival on the planet. But I'd like to know a bit more.

Are all the players starting as prisoners on the ship, or as different ship personnel? It isn't clear from the different character types. And a game where everyone is a prisoner has a much different starting tone than a game where one or two players are prisoners and the rest of the players were guards or otherwise employed by the prison ship.

Why do they want to be rescued? If prisoners, then that seems to be against their best interests. If workers on the ship, I can see why rescue would be preferable. If a mixed group, their goals would be at odds with one and other.

You have a lot of characters right now. I'd cut that down to four you consider necessary for the game. After extensive testing, if you feel that those four do not fully get across what you want for your game, then add in other characters.

Also, focus on just one terrain type for now - go with the stock "one planet, one biome" seen so often in Sci-Fi. You want to make sure the game works smoothly with one encounter deck before adding other decks for desert vs. mountains vs. arid steppes vs. tundra.

As for combat, what is the feel you are going for? You're going to want to decide this before picking a system. Is combat more important than exploration? Or should it be quickly done so that players can get back to the more interesting parts of the game? Do a majority of the items change how combat works for that character? Do you want combat to be more or less strategic? If more strategic, you're not going to want combat where a win or a lose hinges on the roll of a die.

Once you know what feel you want, then you can focus on if you want to have +1 Clubs o' Hitting modifying combat or Faulty Plasma Shield (on a roll of 1-2 it doesn't block damage, otherwise ignore 2 damage from an attack) for defense or if players just roll 1d6 and if they roll equal to or above their base Attack stat they hit and do that amount of damage.
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Adrian Levet
Australia
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Here is the Dropbox link (hopefully) the board game.key file is the cards and other things i’ve Crudely designed. The other file is the beginning of a novella of the same universe that I wrote a couple of years ago as well.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/t3l3ifjqz5udnnl/AAC2HGjRbkKbr2KiQ...
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Adrian Levet
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That is absolutely fair criticism, my friend. I guess I wanted to do something with a simple mechanic sort of system, as adding a bunch of mechanics might make the game harder to make, so I wanted to start with something with simple-ish mechanics. But perhaps that will change. Thanks for your opinion!

To Nathan! Sorry I’m still getting used to this forum system.
 
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Adrian Levet
Australia
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Leon Feargus wrote:
I like the theme!
Makes me wonder though, if the characters are escaping from a prison ship with an escape pod from the prison ship ... who do they expect will respond to the distress beacon from that very escape pod? I should think it would be the same people that held them imprisoned.

I think you can save some time, effort and cost if you have the encounter cards double as item/reward. There is at least one other game that does this but I can't think of the name. Basically, the top half shows the encounter and if you succeed you can take the card and turn it 180 degrees and now the top half is your new item/ability whatever. This is also a nice way to link the encounter and the reward, you fought a giant saber-tooth ... now you have two huge daggers.

I think the way I was going to do it, was to have an inside man in the ship who lets you all loose, and develops a beacon he made himself or tweaked to contact the good guys who pick you up. Not sure what their name is yet haha

So I guess there will be a little story intro you read, and then play, and then read another when you crash land, stating it’s been activated, and you have to wait it out before you are saved.
 
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Leon Kerkhoff
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gemonelee wrote:
Leon Feargus wrote:
I like the theme!
Makes me wonder though, if the characters are escaping from a prison ship with an escape pod from the prison ship ... who do they expect will respond to the distress beacon from that very escape pod? I should think it would be the same people that held them imprisoned.

I think you can save some time, effort and cost if you have the encounter cards double as item/reward. There is at least one other game that does this but I can't think of the name. Basically, the top half shows the encounter and if you succeed you can take the card and turn it 180 degrees and now the top half is your new item/ability whatever. This is also a nice way to link the encounter and the reward, you fought a giant saber-tooth ... now you have two huge daggers.

I think the way I was going to do it, was to have an inside man in the ship who lets you all loose, and develops a beacon he made himself or tweaked to contact the good guys who pick you up. Not sure what their name is yet haha

So I guess there will be a little story intro you read, and then play, and then read another when you crash land, stating it’s been activated, and you have to wait it out before you are saved.
Oh, so the players are the good guys!
Haha, I was assuming that we were criminals trying to escape from a prison ship.
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Adrian Pillai
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This sounds like a very cool idea and a very ambitious game. I like the idea of a 2-part game, though I wonder how playing part 1 (escape the prison ship) can be a good way to help setup the hostile planet (e.g. once escaped, flip over those prison ship tiles you placed to escape, and hey presto, it's part of the hostile planet you can see.)

Do the player roles work while on the prison ship or is someone always going to choose combat-able roles?

I had this thought of each player's starting supplies after they crash land comes in opaque (silver) baggies, so after you crash, you grab one, open it to see what you get and make do with its contents. You can't see what is inside, and feeling it doesn't divulge many clues.

I can appreciate dice rolling for combat/skill checks but I also like games like Coimbra where the dice have multiple uses. I like the idea of having to think about how i use my dice (e.g. do I sacrifice 1 red die to power my rifle or do I keep it so I can roll it with my other dice to resolve other challenges?)

But cool start so far.
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Adrian Levet
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Oh, so the players are the good guys!
Haha, I was assuming that we were criminals trying to escape from a prison ship.[/q]

Haha yep. We’re talking a hostile anti-assimilation human terrorist organisation, whom want more human dominance after being pegged as a secondary race in the universe. It all begun with a corporation named “universal solutions”, who put a huge amount of humans and animals into cryosleep (from bees originally), to a known goldilocks world far away. Long story short, humans developed some worlds, but had to assimilate into an existing galaxy model based on more powerful corporations from several other races. Some humans (most who came from powerful positions on earth) didn’t like this, and so formed a humanity based organisation, who started hostile actions against these other powers, others joined because the aliens who moved freely to their developed planets didn’t like them ‘taking their hard earned jobs’ and were a ‘burden on the system’ like, “why should I pay for these freeloaders, coming to MY planet, taking MY jobs” and so on and so forth. Read the story in the Dropbox if you’re at all interested in the universe. It’s pretty rough on though, I’ll warn, and not complete in any sense haha
 
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Adrian Levet
Australia
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[q="elfboy"]This sounds like a very cool idea and a very ambitious game. I like the idea of a 2-part game, though I wonder how playing part 1 (escape the prison ship) can be a good way to help setup the hostile planet (e.g. once escaped, flip over those prison ship tiles you placed to escape, and hey presto, it's part of the hostile planet you can see.)

This was my plan haha it sounded good to me.

Do the player roles work while on the prison ship or is someone always going to choose combat-able roles?

My plan is to have a ‘skill’ ability which can dictate your stealth ability,but also your ability to dodge and whatnot.

I had this thought of each player's starting supplies after they crash land comes in opaque (silver) baggies, so after you crash, you grab one, open it to see what you get and make do with its contents. You can't see what is inside, and feeling it doesn't divulge many clues.

Love this idea! Wonder if it restricts replay ability though? Or do I make up a mcdillion bags? Haha

I can appreciate dice rolling for combat/skill checks but I also like games like Coimbra where the dice have multiple uses. I like the idea of having to think about how i use my dice (e.g. do I sacrifice 1 red die to power my rifle or do I keep it so I can roll it with my other dice to resolve other challenges

I also like this! Different dice for different weapons? I shall think and deliberate with the council on this...
 
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Jim Dutton
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gemonelee wrote:

I think the way I was going to do it, was to have an inside man in the ship who lets you all loose, and develops a beacon he made himself or tweaked to contact the good guys who pick you up. Not sure what their name is yet haha

So I guess there will be a little story intro you read, and then play, and then read another when you crash land, stating it’s been activated, and you have to wait it out before you are saved.
Here's my best tip on your story. You of course want it to make sense. You don't want important plot points to feel forced or have holes.

Isaac Asimov was asked how he came up with such great stories, and answered, "I think, and I think, and then I think some more".

I once read an explanation of how authors can write characters who are "smarter than the author". It's because the author has weeks or months to consider the decision or deduction the character seems to make in minutes in the story.

The details of your story aren't important until the last minute. "They escape from a ship. They survive on the planet. They try to get rescued." is plenty of story for us to understand the game.

Work on the rest at your leisure and make it a dynamite introduction. You're actually attempting two things here. One is to make a good (or great) game, and the other is to make a great story. A lame story could chill interest in the game.


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Adrian Pillai
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Quote:
Love this idea! Wonder if it restricts replay ability though? Or do I make up a mcdillion bags? Haha
Glad you like it The bags are resealable. During storage/reset have players reload the packs. Have a small deck of cards that tells players what to put inside.
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